European Union (EU)

Irish High Court Refers Schrems 2.0 to the ECJ

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On April 11, Justice Caroline Costello of the Irish High Court referred the Schrems 2.0 case to the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) with 11 questions for the ECJ to answer. Per Justice Costello, the sole issue in the case is whether the European Commission’s Decisions regarding standard contractual clauses (SCCs) are valid, which is reflected in the 11 questions posed. The reference asks the ECJ to determine: Whether provisions of EU law related to national security, public security, defense, and state security apply to transfers of data outside the EU under SCCs; Whether [...] Read more

Council of the European Union publishes new draft ePrivacy Regulation

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The Council of the European Union published a new draft of the ePrivacy Regulation (link here) for discussion purposes on 22 March. This draft aims to facilitate discussions as we are moving towards the final version of the ePrivacy Regulation. As such, the changes outlined below are not final, but rather indicative of the direction that the ePrivacy Regulation is taking. Of particular interest to companies are the provisions relating to cookie settings, and direct marketing communications:   Cookie Settings The new draft clarifies that a one-off consent for a cookie in the context [...] Read more

Belgian Court Uses Novel Argument to Assume International Jurisdiction over Non-EU Facebook Entities

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On February 16, 2018, the Brussels Court of First Instance rendered a judgment in proceedings brought by the Belgian Privacy Commission’s against Facebook. The case forms one part of two-tiered litigation brought by the Commission in regards to alleged monitoring practices vis-à-vis Belgian internet users. In parallel to the proceedings that resulted in the judgment cited above, the Belgian Privacy Commission had also initiated a procedure referred to as “summary proceedings” against Facebook – and Facebook defeated the Privacy Commission’s claim before the Brussels Court of Appeal in [...] Read more

100 Days Until GDPR Effective Date – Sharing Our GDPR Experience

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In less than 100 days, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will go into effect. This means that as of May 25, 2018, each national Supervisory Authority will have the authority to apply and enforce the GDPR. The GDPR raises the bar in terms of requirements substantially higher than the Data Protection Framework Directive. For instance, it recognizes new rights for data subjects (e.g. right to be forgotten and right to data portability), introduces data breach notification requirements, introduces the concept of a Data Protection Officer, and brings enhanced accountability obligations. Given [...] Read more

Privacy & Data Security Team Launches Unique GDPR Tracker Website

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“To Harmonize or Not To Harmonize: That Is the Question.” With the the GDPR fast approaching on May 25, 2018, European Member States are getting ready with the implementation of national legislation. Although the GDPR is a regulation, and directly applicable in all Member States, it has left room for country-specific legislation in several different regards (such as the processing of employee data or individual rights restrictions). Most Member States still only have draft legislation at this point, but the expectation (or at least intention) is that each country will have adopted legislation [...] Read more

ECJ Rules against Schrems Class Action, Sets Up Jurisdictional Questions for GDPR Class Actions

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In late 2015, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) issued its initial Schrems decision, invalidating the EU/US Safe Harbor and leading to important developments in the rules for transferring personal data from the EU to the US.  Since that decision, Mr. Schrems has pursued two further legal proceedings in the EU. The first involves Mr. Schrems’ challenge in the Irish courts to EU Standard Contractual Clauses, which permit data to be transferred internationally between contract parties.  In the trial,  Alston & Bird Special Counsel Peter Swire testified as an expert on US national [...] Read more

Data Protection Litigation to Become a New Reality in Belgium

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On November 16, 2017 the Belgian Senate adopted an “Act on the Establishment of the Data Protection Authority” (the “Act”). Following Austria, Germany, and the UK, Belgium is the fourth EU Member State to pass a domestic statute implementing the General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679 (“GDPR”) prior to its effective date of 25 May 2018. The new Belgian Act sets forth the structure and legal organization of the Data Protection Authority (“DPA”), which will serve as the successor of the current Belgian Privacy Commission. More importantly, the Act significantly broadens the DPA’s [...] Read more

An English-Language Primer on Germany’s GDPR Implementation Statute: Part 5 of 5

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Over the past year, the German government has been working on legislation to implement the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).  On July 6, 2017, Germany did so by passing a statute titled the Data Protection Amendments and Implementation Act. The Act repeals Germany’s venerated Federal Data Protection Act (Bundesdatenschutzgesetz, or BDSG) and replaces it with an entirely new BDSG, aptly referred to as the “BDSG-New.” Germany becomes the first EU Member State to pass a GDPR implementation statute. Given Germany’s reputation as one of, if not the, most serious privacy jurisdiction [...] Read more

WP29 issues Guidelines on Automated Individual Decision-Making and Profiling in the GDPR

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On October 18, 2017, the Article 29 Working Party (the “WP29”) published Guidelines clarifying the new profiling and automated decision-making provisions of the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”).  European Union regulatory authorities and the WP29 consider that technological developments that facilitate the creation of individual profiles, such as big data analytics, AI and machine learning, have created new risks to data protection.  As the majority of industries (insurance, marketing and finance, and even healthcare) already apply and use these new techniques today, the WP29 [...] Read more

An English-Language Primer on Germany’s GDPR Implementation Statute: Part 4 of 5

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Over the past year, the German government has been working on legislation to implement the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).  On July 6, 2017, Germany did so by passing a statute titled the Data Protection Amendments and Implementation Act. The Act repeals Germany’s venerated Federal Data Protection Act (Bundesdatenschutzgesetz, or BDSG) and replaces it with an entirely new BDSG, aptly referred to as the “BDSG-New.” Germany becomes the first EU Member State to pass a GDPR implementation statute. Given Germany’s reputation as one of, if not the, most serious privacy jurisdiction [...] Read more